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Minerva Anestesiologica 2018 January;84(1):49-57

DOI: 10.23736/S0375-9393.17.11758-X

Copyright © 2017 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Earplugs during the first night after cardiothoracic surgery may improve a fast-track protocol

Johannes MENGER, Bernhard URBANEK, Keso SKHIRTLADZE-DWORSCHAK, Viktoria WOLF, Arabella FISCHER, Harald RINÖSL, Martin DWORSCHAK

Division of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Vienna General Hospital, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria


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BACKGROUND: Sleep deprivation after major surgery is common and associated with worse outcome. Noise is one important reason for sleep fragmentation, which contributes to enhanced morbidity. The purpose of this work was to evaluate the impact of earplugs on patients’ sleep quality during their first night after cardiothoracic surgery to eventually improve an existing fast-track concept.
METHODS: Sixty-three patients undergoing cardiothoracic surgery eligible for a postoperative fast-track regimen on our cardiothoracic post anesthesia care unit (C-PACU) were prospectively included. They were randomized to either sleep with or without earplugs. Quality of sleep was measured using questionnaires for patients and nurses. Required pain medications, pain intensity, and length of hospital stay were secondary outcome variables.
RESULTS: Twenty-seven patients were randomized to the intervention group (earplugs) and 36 to the control group. Mean (SD) age was 61 (12) years. Self-reported quality of sleep was better in the intervention group (median, IQR [range]: 3, 2-4 [1-5] vs. 4, 3-5 [1-5]; scale: 1, “excellent,” to 5, “very poor”; P=0.025). Patients of the intervention group also experienced less severe pain (P=0.047) despite similar dosages of administered analgesics and expressed improved satisfaction regarding their C-PACU stay (P=0.032).
CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of the use of earplugs in a fast-track concept following cardiothoracic surgery is efficient and easy. Earplugs improved the quality of sleep as well as patient satisfaction and attenuated pain intensity. They may thereby contribute to a faster recovery, less morbidity, and reduced costs.


KEY WORDS: Sleep deprivation - Postoperative care - Postoperative pain - Ear protective devices - Cardiac surgical procedures - Thoracic surgical procedures

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